COGENT uses a number of directories for storing projects and data. The very first time you use COGENT you will need to set these directories appropriately. Thereafter, COGENT will remember where your projects and data are stored. To set up COGENT, first create two directories: one for COGENT projects and one for COGENT printouts. (You might like to call these .../COGENT/projects and .../COGENT/data respectively, where ... corresponds to your home directory.) Now start the system by typing cogent at the command prompt. COGENT's Research Programme Manager window will appear:
Left-click on the Options... button at the top of the window and a further window will pop-up. This window allows the user to set various options, including the location of projects. Enter the full name of the project and print directories in the appropriate fields. Click on the Save button and you will be ready to go.
For more details of COGENT configuration options, click here.
When COGENT starts up, it displays its research programme manager window. This window allows you to perform various functions on complete research programmes (such as open, create, delete, copy and rename). The window displays the names of all existing research programmes. A research programme can be selected by left-clicking on its name. Clicking on the appropriately named buttons to the right of the research programme selection panel will then perform the various functions, most of which are self explanatory. Note, however, that you can also open a research programme by double-clicking on its name, and when you do open a research programme COGENT will respond by opening the programme's history window (see below). Similarly, if you create a new research programme, COGENT will open that new research programme once it is created.
For more details of the Project Manager, click here.
COGENT displays a project's history within a special window as an annotated time-line. Annotations correspond to individual models within the project's history. Each model is represented as a blob (with its name or creation date). If the project consists of just a single model, then there will be just one blob. If the project comprises multiple models then a number of blobs will be shown. The time-line which connects the blobs may be linear, indicating a sequence of models that have developed cumulatively from a single ancestry, or it may branch, indicating points at which different modifications to a model have been considered. To examine any particular model in the project, click with the right mouse button over the corresponding blob. A menu will appear, from which you can select various options. If you just want to look at a model, select View.... If you want to change a model, select Edit.... You can also create new models in the project's history (with Create...) or delete existing models (with Delete). Note, however, that only models at the right extremity of the time line can be edited (these correspond to models in development). A model can also by opened in edit mode by double-clicking on the corresponding blob.
For more details of the Project History window, click here.
If you edit, view, or create a model, a new window will appear. This is the window in which you can view, draw or edit the box/arrow diagram corresponding to your particular model. If you are in edit mode, the window will have a palette at the bottom. Left clicking on any item on the palette will select the object class. The object can then be drawn on the canvas by moving the mouse to the appropriate position on the canvas and left clicking again. Objects on the canvas can also be repositioned. To move a box to a new location, left click on the box and drag it to the desired position.
Once the necessary boxes have been drawn, they may be connected by arrows. There are two different sorts of arrow, "read" arrows and "send" arrows. A read arrow is used when a box (usually a process) needs to read data from another box (usually a buffer). A send arrow is used when one box is required to send (or write) information to another box. Send and read arrows are distinguished by different arrow heads: send arrows have standard pointed heads, whereas read arrows have reversed triangular heads. To draw an arrow, left click on the appropriate arrow tool on the drawing tool-bar, then left click on the box from which you want the arrow to originate; you will see that the arrow appears, and can be dragged to its destination box.
At some stage you will want to attach names to boxes, and specify the internal details or properties of boxes. To do this you must "open" a box, either by double-clicking on the box or by right-clicking and selecting Open... from the menu that appears. When you open a box another window appears. This window gives you access to the internal details of the box, allowing you to name and configure the box as required. If you position the cursor to the right of the "Name:" field (by moving the mouse there and clicking with the left button) you can, for example, name the box by simply typing in an appropriate name.
For more information on box internals, see general box features and the class hierarchy.